Behind with your Council Tax payments? See you in court

Councils in England and Wales are taking people to court too quickly if they fall behind with their council tax payments, the Liberal Democrats claim.

An answer to a Freedom of Information request showed that one million people received court summons and that bailiffs called on 600,000 defaulters. Councils filed for bankruptcy against non-payers in 1,700 cases.

The Local Government Association said just 1% of cases ever got to court and bankruptcy orders were a last resort. It added that it had a duty to those who pay their council tax to pursue those who do not.

The Liberal Democrats used the Freedom of Information Act to find out what councils in England and Wales did to recover arrears - 172 councils answered.

Restraint urged over tax arrears (BBC News, 7 January 2009)